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15 Topics You Can Explore In An Anthropology Dissertation

An Overview

For many students, “dissertation” is the most dreaded word in their academic careers. Learning from an individual course is one thing; applying what one has learned throughout many courses in order to construct a lengthy defense of a given thesis – well, that’s something else altogether. As an anthropology student, you’ve probably been subjected to more worldviews than you thought imaginable in those halcyon days before you ever signed up for an introductory class. What’s more, you’ve heard the phrase “holistic approach” so many times that at this point it may seem uniquely difficult for you to present scholarly argument in favor of any one thing or another. Take a deep breath, though, because the following list should make it clear that opportunity abounds if you know where to look.

The List

  1. Consider researching the battles for recognition and independence the women of Middle Eastern countries such as Iran have gone through. Compare and contrast the gender challenges in this sector of the world with those faced elsewhere.

  2. Classism is a worldwide topic for the ages. How has Russia’s turn toward democracy shifted its classist roots? How did the Soviet takeover of the 20th century change things? It can be argued (and has been argued) that in many ways Russia is still highly classist despite its governmental transformations.

  3. Perhaps the previous suggestion struck a chord with you but Russian culture isn’t your forte. The same analysis can be conducted on any country at any point in time. China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States are all capable of generating veritable book-loads of discussion on the role of classism within society and the influence of the rich upon the poor.

  4. How have corporations impacted the world we live in today? How have they impacted previous eras? Examine the effects of Big Business upon South Africa and rationalize your thoughts in the ways in which South African culture has been morphed over the past 40 or so years.

  5. Along a similar strand, how have the peoples of smaller American towns adapted to the involvement of large businesses moving in and vying for their cash? Do you feel like individual culture has been lost in the process?

  6. It has been said that Roman conquest of Greece was in many ways Greek conquest of Rome. Which aspects of Greek culture shaped the Roman Empire – and can it be argued that Greece was ultimately the more influential party throughout history?

  7. Consider the reasons a struggling Haiti rejected Monsanto’s donation offers in 2010. What drove the Haitians toward this decision? Document their history with American agricultural intervention and estimate whether or not the country’s fiercely independent choices will prove helpful or harmful going forward.

  8. Medical anthropologists have spread knowledge of birth control methodology throughout South America. Determine the hurdles they face and suggest what must be done to overcome them.

  9. How has diversity been reflected in the foundation of the European Union? How might it be argued that too little regard for various cultures within the EU is the culprit for its current political struggles?

  10. Ethnographies can be penned about nearly any environment. Peer into the role of mental health agencies your community. How has advocacy affected the area? What works? What doesn’t?

  11. Examine the ways in which self-identifying racial subcultures maintain ties to their roots many generations after having migrated from their homelands. Search for less talked-about subjects such as the Native American population in Asian countries or the Egyptians of Australia.

  12. The concept of identity is a perennial anthropological hotbed. In recent years “identity politics” have dominated much discourse in the United States. Chart the struggles faced by LGBTQ cultures.

  13. Orphanage is a natural consequence of war. What are the long-term impacts of childhood displacement in war-torn countries such as Bosnia and Guatemala? As orphaned children grow into adulthood, what emotional scars do they carry and how has this shaped their societies?

  14. The Syrian refugee crisis has generated a plethora of thesis statements over the past few years. Think upon what must be done to give the maximum number of refugees the best possible shot at peaceful lives.

  15. Lastly, consider anthropology itself as a veritable fount of potential dissertation topics. How have anthropology’s “darker eras” harmed the cultures its researchers investigated? How have anthropological policies changed for the better and what still needs to change?